Moratorium considered for adult-only businesses in Guilford

Posted Feb. 05, 2011, at 4:23 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 05, 2011, at 5:49 p.m.

GUILFORD, Maine — Although no pitch has been made for such a business, Guilford town officials have been working on a proposed moratorium on adult-only businesses.

A public hearing has been set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, in the municipal building to discuss the proposed moratorium.

Town Manager Tom Goulette said Thursday that town officials began looking into adult-only businesses several months ago when neighboring Sangerville faced the proposition of a Gentlemen’s Club.

That proposal was dropped, in part, because Sangerville residents approved a public indecency ordinance designed to prohibit certain acts of exploitation of human sexuality in commercial or business establishments.

The issue was rekindled recently when a drug bust was conducted at the Trippy Hippy Co. in Dexter, according to Goulette.

Goulette said the proposed moratorium has been on the Guilford Planning Board’s table since June. “They want to cease any activity before it starts while they take the time to write a sound, legal ordinance,” he said.

Residents would have to approve a moratorium before it would be valid.

Keith Doore, Guilford’s code enforcement officer, said that should the town adopt an ordinance regarding adult-only businesses, it would be retroactive to when the board first discussed the issue.

“This is basically just to have something on the books, if the people want it,” Doore said of the moratorium. It would give the planning board time to develop a “sound and legal” ordinance, he said.

“Should a town attempt to legislate morality?” Goulette asked. “I believe some of the opinion will lean toward merely restricting the ‘where’ rather than the ‘what.’ They need to listen to the public in this to a large degree.”

Goulette said that if the moratorium were approved at town meeting, it basically would bar the planning board, code enforcement officer and Board of Selectmen from permitting any type of adult-only business.

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